Category Archives: Fast Breeder Reactor Programs: History and Status

On 29 November 1982, the Secretary of State for Energy, Nigel Lawson, told the House of Commons that

The Government has now completed its review of the Fast Reactor (initial capitals in the original). The Fast Reactor is of major strategic significance for the U. K.’s and the world’s future energy supplies. It… can create out of the spent fuel and depleted uranium which has so far arisen from our thermal programme fuel equivalent to our economically recoverable […]

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Integral Fast Reactor and pyroprocessing

In the wake of the demise of the Clinch River Reactor project, ANL scientists developed and promoted the Integral Fast Reactor (IFR) concept. Patterned after the EBR-II with its Integral Fast Reactor fuel cycle facility (see EBR-II discussion), the IFR would integrate the plutonium-breeder reactor with an on-site spent fuel pyroprocessing and electro-refining process. In this process, plutonium and the […]

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Safety of fast-neutron reactors

From the very beginning, leaders of the fast-neutron reactor development program had safety concerns. Reactivity safety was studied theoretically using a number of criticality experiments under different scenarios such as refueling, transition from subcritical to supercritical, and the effectiveness and safety of the control rods. These findings were subsequently supported by practical experience with the BOR-60, BN-350 and BN-600. Additionally, […]

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However, Lawson then continued

…we now believe that the series ordering phase will begin in the earlier part of the next century… the development programme will be geared to this timescale… The Government and the Atomic Energy Authority have been having exploratory discussions with other countries to establish… the potential for collaborating with other countries as a means of securing the maximum benefits from […]

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International collaborations

R&D expenditures on advanced nuclear power reactors today are far less than in the 1970s (see figure 1.1, Overview, chapter 1). This has led to more international collaboration. One such collaboration between government-funded nuclear R&D establishments is the Generation IV International Forum (Gen IV Forum). This forum was launched in 2001 at the instigation of the United States to facilitate […]

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Economics

Because of the added secondary circuit, the total amount of structural material in the BN-600 is approximately 50 percent more than for the VVER-1000 (1000 MWe) light-water reactor.16 The estimated cost of BN-800 construction is $2.2-2.5 billion, approximately 11 percent greater than that of the standard VVER-1000 or costing approximately 40 percent more per kilowatt (KW).17 This higher capital cost […]

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Fast Reactor Development in the United States

Thomas B. Cochran, Harold A. Feiveson, and Frank von Hippel Immediately after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 2, 1942, research on plutonium production for atomic weapons was consolidated at the University of Chicago under Nobel Laureate Arthur H. Compton. The "Metallurgical Laboratory" (later to become Argonne National Laboratory) was the code name given to Compton’s facility. It was […]

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